Updated: 4 days ago
The First Ten to Move to Tucson
Across the country, remote workers seek out new places with a higher quality of living to call home. Arizona, in particular, has risen to prominence in the national discourse as an ideal place for the next generation workforce, including remote workers. Identifying an economic development opportunity, Startup Tucson launched the Remote Tucson initiative to thoughtfully relocate new professionals to the Tucson area.
The program started with a snowball strategy marketing campaign to attract people who have friends or family or have visited the area before; throughout the process, emphasizing community over cash. During initial meetings, applicants shared that "Remote Tucson was an especially appealing program because it offers connections into the communities that [they] want to be involved in", becoming the tipping point for their selection of Tucson over other cities' programs. Over 600 applications flooded through in less than a month for just 10 spots, far exceeding the goal of 150 applications.
Of the 600, Remote Tucson had over 200 "highly qualified" eligible applicants. We specifically selected our final 10, not just for their economic benefit to our community, but for their A) likelihood to become a long-term, engaged community member b) adding a needed subject matter expertise to our community (high tech industry experience), c) diversity in race/ethnicity/gender/family makeup d) passion for our community and community contribution/volunteerism.
As an added benefit of the program, 20% of Remote Tucson funds were directly reinvested into the local community by purchasing perks from local artisans, restaurants, and arts organizations. We had a wide range of corporate engagement through a creative and comprehensive perk package. The City of Tucson Economic Initiatives Director, Barbara Coffee noted that “by all measures, the rollout of this program has been a huge success and has created opportunities for a diverse group of talented individuals to choose Tucson”.
Learn More about the Impacts of the program here.
Let's meet the first ten!
Read more about each of our Remote Tucson applicants below.
Kinsley and Bobby
Making an impact in my hometown and sharing this place with my family
Kinsley is a “Tucson native who has been dying to come back.” She describes one of her major reasons for wanting to participate in Remote Tucson program as an opportunity to invest “in making an impact in the place where I grew up, and raising my son in a place that has shaped my values for diversity, reverence for community, and hope for a thriving and inclusive community.” She has Masters degrees in Secondary Education and Teaching and in Social Work. She is currently the Director of Research and Evaluation for Teach for America. She is looking forward to introducing her hometown to her son and her husband who will be joining her (and of course their fur baby!).
Ahmad and Noor
Returning home to give back and create something beautiful
Ahmad Taleb was born and raised in Tucson. He played football for the Palo Verde '06 state champ team, and is a generational legacy UArizona family. He is currently a product developer at Apple. His wife Noor works for LinkedIn as a Sales Productivity Operational Associate, and previously for Google, YouTube, and Facebook. She is also a creative entrepreneur in her own right with an Etsy shop with her own creations. They have enjoyed their time in Silicon Valley as a way “to get the knowledge and experience I needed to return home and be a benefit to my community.”
When they are not working, they have been involved in their community as Arabic translators, coaches, and youth leaders. They enjoy the outdoors and love hiking and camping. Ahmad is trained in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. They look forward to having the space and time to build a family and contributing meaningfully to Tucson’s community. “My wife and I would be a great fit for the Remote Tucson program because of what Tucson means to us and the importance it holds in our lives. Coming home is more than just packing our bags, it's the opportunity to finally give back to the community that's so important to us.”
Malvika and Niraj (Raj)
From hot summers in India to sunny days in Tucson, the perfect inspiration for filming + writing
Raj and Malvika were drawn to Tucson because of Malvika’s love of film-making. After getting her MBA from Wharton, and before joining Facebook, she worked on a film that was filmed at Old Tucson Studios. She fell in love with the city, its culture and its beauty. Growing up in India, the hot Tucson summer felt just like home! The couple moved from San Francisco, both with jobs in the tech sector. Raj, a rebel with a keyboard, works for Reddit and Malvika is a Creative Producer for Facebook.
Raj writes. He used to be a journalist with the Wall Street Journal where he thought he would change the world with his writing. Instead his own life was changed forever when he was sent to India as a foreign correspondent.He is always trying to recreate the magic he discovered in India and he feels that Tucson - with its mix of people, authenticity, cultures, geography, heat and the monsoon and even the really spice food - comes very close. He is currently working on writing a book which he hopes to finish in his lifetime and hopes that at least all of his 12 twitter followers will buy the book. In Tucson, he is excited to eat at every pizza place and meet every Tucsonan.
In Tucson, Malvika is excited to get back into Salsa and other Latin dance forms. Professionally, Malvika is a film producer and works at Facebook. She discovered Tucson in 2015 when she came here to shoot a western, at the Old Tucson studios. She spent a month here in August amidst the heat and the monsoon and immediately got reminded of her home, India. She is amazed at the number of local artists and galleries here and cannot wait to meet/see all of them.
Lisa, Calder, Xander, and Harlow
A UArizona love story settles into the Old Pueblo
The Hynes family have deep connections to Tucson as they are both Wildcats and Calder grew up in Tucson (“Go Fighting Penguins!”). After years of bouncing from New Orleans, New York City, and now LA--they are looking to put down roots as their family has grown. Both Lisa and Calder are leaders in national entertainment.
As an events manager, Lisa has worked on some of the world’s biggest events such as The Super Bowl and the Kentucky Derby. She is interested in building her own company. Calder Hynes is currently the head of public relations and communications for sports agency Wasserman, working with world-class athletes such as Megan Rapinoe, Russell Westbrook, Klay Thompson, Diana Taurasi, Marshawn Lynch, Giancarlo Stanton, and Katie Ledecky. Prior to Wasserman, Calder worked in the public relations departments of a number of professional sports teams – the Los Angeles Lakers, Brooklyn Nets, New Orleans Hornets, and Miami Dolphins. Born and raised in Tucson, Calder graduated from University High School in 2004 before attending the University of Arizona, where he graduated with a BA in Art History in 2008. He then obtained an MS in Sport Administration from St. Thomas University (FL) in 2009.
They are both deeply committed to community service, volunteering, and working with underserved communities and community beautification projects. Calder has a passion specifically for working to support unaccompanied minors from Central and South America. Xander and Harlow keep the family on their toes and are a big reason that the Hynes family is excited to come home to Tucson.
Vivek and Kitana
Change of scenery to continue mission-driven research + technology
Dr. Kitana Ananda is a cultural anthropologist, writer and researcher with a doctorate from Columbia University. She currently works to make educational materials accessible to all children through her work in education. Her husband Vivek, a Tucson native, also works for a nonprofit organization whose mission is to transform culture and policy through a multi-racial community of change-makers that secure rights, recognition and resources for all families.
Vivek is a self-taught technologist and is passionate about the ways that technology can enhance mission-driven work. The couple has many friends and family members in Tucson, and they felt the time was right to leave San Francisco and build a new life in Tucson. Vivek is an avid musician, and credits the Tucson Parks and Recreations system for helping him to have access to music. He would like to give back to help other children have access to arts education. In his free time he has been teaching himself to build and repair guitars and is looking forward to a little more space to spread out, reconnect with family, and become an active contributor to the Tucson community.
Coming in on a steel horse, passionate about serving community
Erika Bean has several degrees in Molecular and Cellular Biology and Cancer Biology, from the University of Arizona. She currently works for Pfizer as a Senior Marketing Manager. An an alumni, Erika has deep connections to Tucson and she is passionate about community service through her work at the Junior League, as a Community Food Bank volunteer, a Youth on Their Own volunteer, and a Ronald McDonald House volunteer. While she has loved living in New York City, this opportunity from Remote Tucson has helped her decide she would love to return to the Old Pueblo community to pursue her passions for running, hiking, and motorcycling. She will be joined by her husband who works for Raytheon.
The right time to invest in a thriving and growing community
Cameron discovered Tucson because of the UA and excitedly returns to friends he made during his college years. After graduating from the UA with a BA in political science, Cameron did Teach for America and then received a Masters degree from Lipscomb University in Nashville, TN. His wife is a technology director at a Fortune 500 company.
Together, they have lived and traveled all over the world and are looking to settle down and invest in a community that is thriving and growing. They have visited Tucson several times and love all the things that it has to offer. They look forward to making the most of the outdoor activities, building websites/other technology, enjoying art, music, and the dining experience famed in Tucson. Cameron and his wife will buy their first house and can’t wait to learn more about the culture in Tucson.
Presta valves, a thespian spirit, and a willingness to share startup insights
While born and raised in Brooklyn, Nick fell in love with Tucson during his years as a pro cyclist. He is also a self-professed theater fan who is deeply interested in supporting and investing in Tucson’s creative and theater communities. Professionally, Nick has been involved in a number of high profile startups and tech companies as a creative market researcher and CMO. He is an experienced and passionate startup mentor. Remote Tucson was an especially appealing program “because it offers connections into the communities that I want to be involved in...I was considering a couple of cities but this program has been the tipping point. It is the community and it is the connections.”
Alex and Mari
After spending the last 5+ years in San Francisco, we're looking forward to getting out of our cramped apartment and returning to Tucson, where we both spent time during college. Alex is a San Francisco Bay Area native who enjoys playing/watching sports, drinking good beer, and going to comedy shows. Mari grew up in Hong Kong and came to the United States to attend the University of Arizona. Hong Kong to Tucson was quite a culture shock, but she obviously enjoyed her time enough that she had a strong desire to move back 10 years later. Mari is half Japanese and interested in finding a Japanese community in Tucson. In her spare time she enjoys cooking, hiking, and travelling. Joining us in Tucson will be our 4 month old puppy, Pepper!
Sarah Oyetubo is a Certified Diversity and Inclusion (D&I) practitioner and Senior Program Manager of Diversity, Inclusion, and Belonging at GitHub where she leads the diversity, inclusion, and belonging strategy for GitHub’s Engineering, Product and Development teams. She lives by the term “ubuntu”, the South African philosophy of humanity which translates to “I am because we are.” With leadership and influence working for Fortune 500 corporations, Sarah has a proven track record for leading people through transformational change as demonstrated in various strategic and highly visible projects — from the building of a small museum to scaling D&I across an organization.
Before joining GitHub, Sarah was at the helm of Bedrock Detroit's first Diversity and Inclusion strategy, a full-service commercial real estate company specializing in the strategic development of urban cores. Sarah also spent five years working for companies such as Dell Technologies/EMC, where she played a pivotal role in the development and execution of strategies, programs, and best practices needed to create inclusive and effective corporate cultures by attracting and retaining diverse workforces. Her initiatives in D&I have reshaped organizational policies and contributed to the unification of multidimensional corporate cultures.
Sarah is the proud first-generation American daughter of Jamaican and Nigerian parents. An avid traveler, she addresses groups on what she knows best — diversity and inclusion in the workplace and living a fulfilled life. Sarah holds a Bachelor of Art degree in Cultural Anthropology from the University of Michigan, an avid admirer of underground art scenes, and a DIY enthusiast.
What’s Next for Remote Tucson?
As this was a pilot, we are monitoring the impacts of the program closely. We are tentatively planning on launching another cohort in August of 2021.
One additional aspect we are hoping to add to the full roll-out of the program is a one-to-one model that provides benefits for existing local young professionals to encourage both retention and attraction!
Sign up here for updates of when the next cohort launches.
If you or your organization is interested in supporting the effort as a sponsor or in-kind benefit provider email email@example.com